Gori (Georgian: გორი ) is a city in the Shida Kartli region of Georgia. It is most famous (or infamous) for being the birthplace of Iosif Vissarionovich Jughashvili, better known as Joseph Stalin. Today, surprisingly, it does not look much different from when Stalin ruled the USSR. Gori is also located a short drive from Uplistsikhe, an ancient Silk Road cave city and former regional center of pagan worship.

View of Gori from Goris Tsikhe (Gori Fortress)

The name Gori may look and sound like the plural form of the Russian word for mountain (горы, GO-ry), but the name of Gori, incidentally meaning hill (singular) in Georgian, is much older than the first Russian contact with the Georgian kingdoms in 1500s.

. . . Gori . . .

Map of Gori

Many marshrutkas run daily between Tbilisi’s Didube market and the central square of Gori. A more expensive, yet still reasonable option, is to hire a taxi (in some areas you can find cheaper intercity taxis). The marshrutka should cost 3 lari.

A tourist information office, which hands out a leaflet with all the twelve sights of Gori and a map is located behind the Stalin Museum (10:00, summer to 20:00, winter 18:00).

Everything that a tourist would want to see within Gori is easily accessible on foot; the city center is compact.

To get to the nearby Uplistsikhe complex, however, it is best to hire a taxi. Taxis are easy to find around the main square and drivers will be willing to wait for you while you explore the Uplistsikhe complex so that they can drive you back to Gori once you have finished. The whole taxi ride, including waiting, should not cost more than 25 lari and drivers will go as low as 15 lari if you are a hard bargainer.

Public transport to the modern Uplistsikhe village is much cheaper at 1 lari each way. Buses go from Stalin Avenue. A train departs to Uplistsikhe village from Gori at around 10:00 and returns around 17:00. A bus also makes the trip, departing Gori’s bus station once around 09:00 and again at noon, returning around 15:00. There are also the usual marshrutkas running from the main marshrutka dropoff by the stadium. Once in Uplistsikhe village it is a walk of 700m across the bridge over the river to the Uplistsikhe complex.

If you are driving, head south in Gori on Stalin Ave across the Mtkvari River and turn left on the second main cross-street (not the one running right along the river). This road will take you through the village of Khidistavi, where you should try to maintain a straight course, bearing to the left if at a fork, and past the village you should approach Uplistsikhe. If you are feeling lost, ask anyone for directions (try “sahd-ah-rees uu-plis-tsi-khe?”) and they will point you right.

Giant statue of Stalin in front of Gori’s city hall before removal
Famous “Profile” rock that looks like a face at Uplistsikhe
Church built over ruined pagan temple of the Sun God, Uplistsikhe

Unlike the majority of Georgia, Gori is full of people who still revere their home-town boy who made such an indelible mark on human history. The principal attractions (and the principal revenue earners) in the city are monuments to Stalin and they are all located on or nearby the main square along Stalin Ave. Having visited Georgia and not having seen the birthplace of the Great Man is like going to Agra and not visiting the Taj Mahal.

  • 41.98722244.1136111 [dead link]Stalin Museum, 32 Stalin Ave, +995 270 27 52 15, e-mail: stalinmuseum@posta.ge. 10AM–6PM. The Stalin Museum is the highlight of a visit to the city of Gori. Behind its faux-Venetian facade is an impressive museum filled with paraphernalia and media documenting the life and career of I.V. Jughashvili. The museum’s portrayal of Stalin is one-sidedly nostalgic, which can be jarring for visitors, but the exhibits are actually quite well done and there are ample Georgian babushkas throughout the museum who will be more than happy to elaborate on the exhibits and answer questions. Unfortunately, the exhibits are overwhelmingly in Russian and Georgian, to the disadvantage of most Western visitors. But the main show requires no languageStalin’s death mask. Stalin’s bronze death mask is not so exciting in and of itself, but the lighting and bizarre, personality cult-chic, red velvet display will surely elicit goose bumps. At the ticket office, ask about an English or German-speaking guide. Guided tours start regularly. They are sometimes available and will often show you the inside of Stalin’s home and train car. 10 lari for foreign tourists (1 lari children), cottage and railway coach 5 lari extra.  

Outside the museum taxi drivers hussle for tours to Uplistsikhe.

  • Stalin’s Birthplace:

If we are to believe the plaque, Stalin’s birth house now resides within a cage of neoclassical Doric columns. There is not much here for the visitor other than a creepy photo opportunity and the plaque which reads in both Russian and Georgian:

Here I.V. Stalin was born on 21
December 1879, and here he
spent his childhood until 1883.
  • Stalin Statue

Few of the many statues of Stalin throughout the former USSR have survived to this day and Gori’s is certainly one of the most magnificent and well-kept. This large statue long stood in front of Gori’s city hall, located up Stalin Ave. from the end of the main square, opposite the Stalin Museum, until a bush-league surprise removal in the middle of the night by the current pro-Western government (over presumed objections by Gori residents and officials). The statue is being re-erected in the park before the Stalin museum. There are two other Stalin statues in Gori: a replica of the main statue is in Stalin Park and the secondof Stalin as a young mancan be found beside Gori State University.

. . . Gori . . .

This article is issued from web site Wikivoyage. The original article may be a bit shortened or modified. Some links may have been modified. The text is licensed under “Creative Commons – Attribution – Sharealike” [1] and some of the text can also be licensed under the terms of the “GNU Free Documentation License” [2]. Additional terms may apply for the media files. By using this site, you agree to our Legal pages . Web links: [1] [2]

. . . Gori . . .